Oscar BrandFolk | 2010
Born in Winnipeg in 1920, Oscar Brand is linked forever to Long Island by his Brooklyn College years and subsequent residence. Upon discharge from the Army, Brand started broadcasting “Folk Song Festival” in 1945 over WNYC radio; the show has been noted in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest-running radio show continuously aired and hosted by the same person. His show provided an important outlet during the McCarthy era for blacklisted artists, and he was singled out by the House Un-American Activities Committee as a “pipeline of communism” by standing up for First Amendment rights. Brand also was on the advisory panel for Children’s Television Workshop and Sesame Street (he is reportedly the namesake for Oscar the Grouch!), where he was an advocate for children. He has been awarded a Peabody Award for his work with NPR, Emmy Awards for his TV work, an Edison Award, and numerous other high honors. Brand died in September 2016 at the age of 96.